Happy New Year… Lists!
Happy New Year! Where do you stand on New Year resolutions? I hate the word, because it has become such a buzz word, but I am committed to the idea. There are hundreds of science based articles about why they work or why they don’t work, how best to make them and how to make sure you stick to them. But that perspective is missing the point I think. What’s important for me is that I take the time to think about what I want (small or big) and commit to myself in writing. If nothing else, it serves as a great journal entry.
It’s been many years (at least ten) since I’ve gotten into the habit of putting down a list of things I will strive to achieve in the coming year. My 2021 list, split into six categories (I know!), includes over 35 entries. Quite a few of these have starred in 2020’s list as well, and probably many will still be there for 2022.
I go back to it a few times during the year and sometimes I get to cross more things than I expected, other times I realise that some things will not be possible before the end of the year or that I don’t even want those things anymore. No matter what it is, I always learn something and it keeps me focused.
Do it as an exercise, to see how it feels to actually think about the year ahead. Then forget about it until next year if you’d like…
As you certainly gathered from above, I am not one to shy away from yearly goals, and reading challenges make no exception. The past three years I’ve kept things very simple, setting up a number (52) in my Goodreads account, and that’s what I’m doing in 2021 too. Although I haven’t managed to achieve it yet, I get closer each year. But of course, it’s not about the number! This for me is mainly motivation to get out of a reading rut, plus it helps me keep track of the books I’ve read and Goodreads provides some fun stats at the end too!
There are certainly more interesting challenges you can try and I have a few in mind for the future – reading only books by women, books by new-to-me foreign authors, or books from genres I haven’t tried before. Still, the goal is always to read more, and it doesn’t get more admirable than that in my book (pun intended!)
Will you sign up for a reading challenge this year?
Pierre Cardin Obituary
Iconic designer Pierre Cardin sadly passed away on the 29th of December and what better way is there to honor his memory than by learning more about him and his career? I already knew that Cardin had come from the world of couture to the ready-to-wear fashion he’s known for today. What I didn’t know was that he actually invented ready-to-wear!
He was a pioneer in space-age couture (and even designed a real spacesuit for NASA!), but he was equally a brilliant businessman, with a revolutionising vision of creating prêt-à-porter collections for the masses (becoming the first true fashion label) and expanding to markets no other French designer had gone to before, like China and the Soviet Union. He was also the first designer to hold a fashion show in Red Square, Moscow, drawing a crowd of 200,000 in 1991.
I appreciate his unique futuristic aesthetic, but what I admire most is how he used that inspiration to create beautifully tailored sculptural pieces to be worn everyday – amazing coats and dresses that are as relevant today as they were back in the ‘50s, ‘60s or ‘70s, even though he hasn’t showed his collections at Fashion Weeks since 1996.
Jan de Vliegher Paintings
The first of the two paintings of chandeliers above sent me on a rabbit hole earlier this week, as I discovered and explored the work of Jan de Vliegher, the artist behind it.
I fell in love with his style and the ‘subjects’ he has chosen over the years, from decorative plates to crystal glasses and bottles, China sets, chandeliers, flower arrangements, busts, interior details – some of the loveliest things in the world, really!
As far as I can see on one of the online art galleries selling his paintings, the starting price for any of his works is €10,000, but that is not a reason why you and I could not enjoy these images or the gif below!
I’ve had this on my list to share for a while now, first suggested to me by the lovely lady that created the Miss Onion logo you can see below. I’ve since stumbled upon victorian radiators with built-in warmers a few more times, and each time I think to myself why don’t we have these anymore? It seems to me such a useful ad-on for all sorts of purposes, from keeping tea and food warm, to drying clothes or ‘toasting’ them before getting dressed in winter. Also, as someone suggested in one of the 1.2k comments on Reddit, this would be heaven for my cat!
And while we’re on the topic of radiators, how beautifully ornate these objects used to be! What happened?
There wasn’t much we could do for 2021’s New Year’s Eve Party, yet despite that, or better said because of that, I wanted to make sure that I do at least something special, something I haven’t done before, something that could become a tradition even in brighter times, something that made me feel inspired and excited.
You might expect some big idea or revelation after that intro, but in reality, I am talking about something very frivolous, as shared yesterday on Instagram – champagne cocktails. I am no beverage connaisseuse, nor do I think I have a sophisticated taste or particular preferences. But I would like to explore more and I love the idea of champagne – a sparkly, glittery, bubbly golden liquid synonymous with celebrations! What better place to start?
Thus, to say goodbye to 2020 with more grace than it deserves, I did a little bit of research and from dozens of more or less complicated options, the ones that drew me in were some of the simplest and desert-like options: Mimosas and Bellinis, the simple Sorbet and Champagne cocktails and the delicious Champagne Ice Cream Floats, Champagne Mojito, the Classic Champagne Cocktail (one sugar cube infused with Angostura bitters, topped up with bubbly) and the iconic French 75 (gin, sugar syrup, fresh lemon juice and champagne).
This list should come in handy for a few other celebrations this year!
A Quote (for the First day of a New Year)
Although I haven’t done it specifically until now, I always intended to share on the letter quotes that I’ve found serendipitous, inspiring and even provocative. I have a notebook where I try to write the ones I come across in books, I have a dedicated board on Pinterest, of course, I have saved posts on Feedly and screenshots on my phone. This particular quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald was pinned on a board next to my screen at work for over two years.
I surround myself with words that speak to me. I always find it very special when I read a thought or a feeling that I’ve had, so accurately described by another human being (dead or alive, most often than not dead). It’s one of the best feelings a book can reward me with.
May this quote be as inspiring to you as it is to me, especially on the first day of a new year!
If this letter has offered you a moment of inspiration, kindly forward it to others who might enjoy it too. And if you have been forwarded it, indulge in all previous Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds and subscribe to the weekly letter.